the last inhabitant

1988 – Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Evicted as a result of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, Abgar stays behind alone in a gradually shrinking enemy ring. He is waiting for his daughter, who has become a witness to her husband’s murder by an angry mob and was hospitalized with a trauma disorder. An Azerbaijani named Ibrahim, for finding and bringing Abgar’s daughter, suggests that Abgar works on the construction of a mosque. A few days later, Ibrahim finds the girl, named Yurga, in one of the psychiatric hospitals of Baku and brings her to Abgar.

Short synopsis: They lost their paradise and escaped hell, led only by love, virtue and self-sacrifice.

Director Statement

Deportation of people is an act made against humanity – an act of decision that is made against people that have no choice but to flee. From 1987 to 1990, prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the most critical ethnic conflict took place – the Armenian-Azerbaijani clashes in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. A mass deportation of Armenians from Azerbaijan, USSR was witnessed including in the village of Gyurjevan. This inter-ethnic conflict between ethnic Armenians and ethnic Azerbaijanis after decades is still entangled, and it is considered the most violent conflict in the region.

The story of “The Last Inhabitant of Gyurjevan” by Tsovinar Khachatryan is about the expulsion of an Armenian village in Azerbaijan, USSR in 1988. The story portrays the natural and peaceful life of a small mountainous village that was turned upside and down overnight due to this inter-ethnic conflict. . The village experiences increased tension, confusion, and fear. For the inhabitants of this region, the future becomes bleak and uncertain.

As a filmmaker raised in Nagorno-Karabakh, I have listened to stories of hardships endured by my family and villagers, and their struggles in dealing with such a devastating inter-ethnic conflict.

The film takes you on a mystery ride of allowing viewers imagination to decide the faith of a conflict. Ultimately people decide their own faith in return decide the outcome of a war. In this story, the stonemason Abgar, who is a Christian, has not been exiled yet and is the only Armenian living in the highly populated Armenian village of Gyurjevan. Abgar loses his daughter Yurga in Sumgait as the result of the mass deportation of the Christian Armenian population. The determined Armenian stays behind in search of his daughter. He has been given a task to construct a Mosque in return for his daughter by his long-time friend Ibrahim. This illustrates a strong message that we need each other regardless of race, culture, and religion in order to survive and preserve our racial identity. The film is about people who have appeared in a hell after they have lost their paradise, people who are saved by love, virtue and self-sacrifice.

-Jivan Avetisyan

The Last Inhabitant – Jivan Avetisyan, Armenia, 2016, 83′